DIDN’T THE ANIMALS DIE?
What an amazing end to 2004, with the
devastation that occurred on the other side of the world with the
tsunami waves. We have seen the scenes. We have looked at the
footage. We have seen the human bodies.
But one of the more
interesting events of that day has escaped many people. When looking
amongst all of the dead bodies, people said they could not find any
dead animals. People said that there were none. Zero dead
animals. How can that be?
A zookeeper said that, about five
minutes before the tsunami came aground, the elephants chained to
trees in his zoo began to break the chains and go up into the hills!
Some Japanese tourists were riding on elephants when the elephants
suddenly started heading up to higher ground. That undoubtedly saved
the lives of those people.
Question: How did the
animals know this and the people didn’t? In Genesis 1,
we read that we are the highest part of God’s creation. There is
nothing more special to God than mankind; it is something that He
deemed very good. So why did animals know to flee, and
Jesus warned us — during his listing of the
signs of the end times — to keep a lookout for earthquakes in
various places. Matthew 24:7 says, “For nation shall rise against
nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and
pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places.
referring to the many Old Testament warnings of earthquakes that
would accompany the End Times. For instance, the prophet Isaiah
“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof
shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise
The book of Job tells us that the God can
literally reel the earth to and fro when He wants. Psalms 90:5-6
“Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are
as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In
the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut
down, and withereth.”
We can literally be asleep and a flood can carry
us away! And looking ahead, as Jesus told us to do, we read in the
book of Revelation that many earthquakes will literally change the
face of the earth beyond recognition! First it says “every island
and mountain were moved out of their places.” (Rev. 6:14). Further
on, after mentioning many other earthquakes, it gets to the worst:
“And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the
air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of Heaven, from
the throne, saying, “It is done.” And there were voices, and
thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as
was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and
so great. … And every island fled away, and the mountains were not
What this is saying is that at the end of the
End Times, no map of today, no globe, no atlas will show anything
that matches what the earth will look like then. That’s how bad the
earthquakes — and resulting tsunamis, in some places — will be.
Do the major tragedies of life get your attention? Do they
make you think about your mortality? Do you realize it could have
been any one of us who died in that tsunami, or in a car accident
that day? Is hearing of these events driving you and me closer and
closer to the cross of our Lord?
It’s interesting that many
survivor stories were of Christians and Jews who believe in the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and were praying. For example, on CNN,
Daylan Sanders, founder and director of Samaritan Children's Home on
Sri Lanka, told of how God rescued him and the 28 orphans in his
...there are no words in human speech to describe what we
saw. It was a 30-foot wall of sea, just bearing down on us like an
angry monster. And it was coming at us at such speed, I knew that
there was no place on ground where we could be safe. So I knew --
there was something in me that told me that instantly ... we've got to
get on top of this wave if... to stay safe.
So I came out, I
called out for the children. They all came. We rushed. We had just
10 seconds to get into the boat ... you know, [the wave] had rushed in
... just demolished everything that stood in its path. It came with
such force. It just hit both of the garages. The garages just
splintered in every direction. It lifted up my Toyota pickup
vehicle, my Mitsubishi L-300. We had a three-wheeler, a motor bike.
Everything -- it just pulverized.
... when we got into the
boat, it was just a few — I would say about 15 feet away, and we
were eyeball to eyeball with the wave. And immediately, a Scripture
popped into my mind. It said, "When the enemy comes in like a flood,
the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it."
And I know from there I got the courage. I just stood up in
the small boat, and I lifted both my hands and I said, “I command
you in the name of Jesus Christ, on the strength of the Scriptures,
that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord
shall raise up a standard against him. I command you in the name of
Jesus Christ to stand still.”
And I thought I was imagining
at the time that the massive wall of water, it stood. It — I'm not
one given to exaggeration — we saw, as if something holding back,
some invisible force or hand. It just stood.
Sanders told how this was confirmed by survivors
who saw the wave stand still, and asked him why it happened. He told
[Survivors] said, “When it got on your land, at one
point, it stood still. It just slowed down. And that gave you the
chance. What made it? Was it the density of the trees or the
buildings?” I said, “There was no power on Earth that could have
held it back but the power of God.” I said, “I called upon God, and
I commanded it in the name of Jesus, who 2,000 years ago commanded
the waves, and they obeyed. He commanded the sea, and they obeyed.
And this is the very same God did the same to us and gave us those
precious few seconds that we needed ...”
The God of this universe is always in control
whether during a tsunami or on 9/11. Are you trusting that same
So, back to our question: Why did the animals escape
and the people die? Because we live in a sinful fallen state. We are
under the curse of sin in this world. The animals are not. Yes, they
will die someday, but not as easily or ignorantly as people.
We will all die one day because of sin. Yes, “the wages of
sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus
Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Death is assured for all of us. We
will not make it out of this world alive. The important question
then is: Am I ready to go if today is my day? Matthew wrote,
The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and
tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He
answered and said unto them, “When it is evening, ye say, ‘It will
be fair weather: for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will
be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.’ O ye
hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not
discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation
seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but
the sign of the prophet Jonah. And he left them, and departed.
Jesus says here that people can understand what
type of weather is coming, but lack the discernment to figure out
the times they are living in. From the reports of the tsunami, we
see that some of us are not even good at figuring out the signs of
nature: People watched the water retreat and didn’t know it was sign
that a tsunami was coming!
So — knowing that it is our job
to reach lost souls before the “tsunami” of their personal life hits
— specially pray this year:
- For discernment to recognize the evil and wicked times that we
- To understand what the Bible says about the times that we live
- To know how to apply that godly understanding to our lives.
The real question isn’t “How many people died
from the earthquake and tsunami that day?” but “Where are they now?”
Until the nets are full,